2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Central Florida’s Blake Bortles
To prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft InsidetheFilmRoom is breaking down the best 5 prospects from every position. This week we are examining the top quarterback prospects and we are focusing our attention on Central Flordia’s Blake Bortles today.
Until recently if you typed ‘Blake Bortles’ into Google it would suggest searching for his girlfriend, Lindsey Dukes. It was proof that America didn’t really know Bortles or his NFL potential despite scouts talking about his immense potential. Or maybe that America just loves a busty blonde chick.
Either way, Bortles’ climb from a developmental prospect at the start of the 2013 season to the front runner for being selected 1st overall is quite remarkable. At UCF Bortles blossomed under the tutelage of George O’Leary and led UCF to a 12-1 record culminating with a Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor.
With his prototypical size and arm strength Bortles always looked the part of an NFL quarterback physically but his improvements in the more subtle areas of quarterbacking — pocket pressence, reading defenses, etc.– have made him an elite quarterback prospect.
Prototypical Size: Six foot five and 232 pounds, can see over his offensive line, has the frame to take 16 games of NFL punishment, was primarily recruited as a tight end coming out of high school and generally looks the part of an NFL quarterback.
NFL Arm: Big arm capable off making every throw, ball zips out of his hand, can stretch the field vertically, has enough raw arm strength to make downfield throws even when he is off balance, smooth rhythm and can power the ball to his receivers on inside breaking routes.
Pocket Presence: Great awareness of defenders, climbs the pocket extremely well, always keeps his eyes downfield, great maneuverability/footwork in tight spaces, can shrug off arm tackles and is willing to hang in the pocket.
Mobility: Fluid athlete, good speed for a bigger quarterback, faster than his 4.92 40, experienced in the zone read, accurate on the move, similar athletically to Andrew Luck and capable of hurting a defense with his legs.
Raw: Not a polished quarterback, needs to refine his footwork, release, decision making and accuracy, telegraphed his throws, lacks eye discipline, didn’t toggle through many reads at UCF and has a lot of work to do to fulfill his potential.
Overall: Compared to the other top prospects in this year’s draft Bortles doesn’t have as many weaknesses. In fact his only real weakness is his lack of refinement. He has the size, arm and basic quarterback skills but hasn’t fully developed into an elite quarterback.
Because of this a lot of NFL teams see him as a big piece of clay that can be molded into their quarterback of the future. With that type of potential it is understandable why Bortles will likely be the 1st player selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. Helping Bortles cause is that the Texans recently hired Bill O’Brien as their head coach who happens to be a former quarterbacks coach that was the offensive coordinator under George O’Leary.
Ultimately, Bortles has the highest potential of any quarterback entering the 2014 NFL Draft and potential is exactly what the draft is all about. Therefore, I expect the Texans to draft him with the 1st pick but Bortles will have to seriously refine his game in order to reach his ceiling.
Prediction: Top 4 Picks
Other 2014 Quarterback Scouting Reports: